After the first week of the UN Climate Conference COP27 ended, senior African Church leaders and Catholic organisations concerned about climate change celebrated a joint meeting to pray and discern practical actions to advocate for climate justice. The gathering took place in the Parish of Our Lady of Peace, Sharm El Sheikh, where around 30,000 people have come to attend the climate discussions.
“Climate change is a lived reality for millions of people across Africa. Communities across this continent are suffering every day from increased frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, cyclones and heatwaves. A deal at COP27 must include finance for Loss & Damage, which is compensation for countries who are already suffering from climate impacts but are not responsible for causing it”, affirmed Cardinal Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Vice-President of SECAM and President of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission (SECAM).
At the same time, Musamba Mubanga, Senior Advocacy Officer at Caritas Internationalis said: “Catholic institutions across the world are already on the frontlines of the climate crisis, helping people of all faiths and none to adapt to and recover from climate change. Caritas members across the world are already seeing the devastating impact that the climate crisis is having on access to food in already hungry parts of the world. COP27 must establish a democratic mechanism for the governance of agriculture, land and food systems under the UNFCCC”.
The attendees of this gathering had the opportunity to discuss topics such as climate finance, food security, false solutions and the Congo Basin, forced migration, and Loss and Damage, added for the first time on the agenda of negotiators. Furthermore, they reflected on the process of the African Climate Dialogues, an initiative that brought together Church and civil society actors and allies, including communities and religious leaders from across the African continent and European organisations to share African realities of the climate crisis. These dialogues resulted in a communiqué that includes key messages gathered throughout the five sessions that took place between July and September of this year.
“The climate crisis is fundamentally an issue of justice and peace. There can be no peace if polluters continue to profit from climate destruction whilst the people suffer, and there can be no justice without promotion of peace-led solutions to climate change. COP27 must agree to a package of action which gets finance to people who urgently need it on the frontlines of this emergency”, commented Ben Wilson, Partner Advocacy Officer at SCIAF, CIDSE’s Scottish member organisation and member of the African Climate Dialogues Steering Committee.
David Munene, Programme Manager at the Catholic Youth Network on Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) also pointed: “You cannot be planning for the future of young people without young people at the decision-making table. Young people especially in Africa are being hit hardest by the detrimental effects of Loss and Damage, yet they are not responsible for their stolen future. COP27 – the so-called implementation COP – must commit unanimously to avoiding further destruction and establishing an intergenerational healing and compensation mechanism of the climate-induced Loss and Damage for the vulnerable nations and youths.”
Church members and civil society organisations focused on the joint work they will develop during the second week of negotiations to ensure an agreement that responds to the cries of those who already suffer climate impacts throughout the planet.
Notes to Editors
- Media requests and interviews: Spokespeople are available to comment live from COP27, please contact Carmen Contreras (email@example.com). To consult activities organised by the CIDSE network for the COP27 second week, click here.
- For more information about Catholic Church demands at COP27, see the African Climate Dialogues.
- CYNESA is the platform for all young Catholics in Africa, promoting responsible stewardship of the environment. More information can be found here: http://www.cynesa.org/.
- CIDSE is an international family of Catholic social justice organisations working for transformational change to end poverty and inequalities, challenging systemic injustice, inequity, destruction of nature and promoting just and environmentally sustainable alternatives, more information can be found here: https://www.cidse.org/
- Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of over 160 members who are working at the grassroots in almost every country of the world, more information can be found here: https://www.caritas.org/who-we-are/.
Cover photo: Catholic Mass at Sharm El-Sheikh, 13h November, 2022. Credit: Caritas Australia